Healthcare System Information for Expatriates in Germany
Germany has a thriving economy and culture that attracts expatriates around the world. Germany has provided the world with technological advancements and innovations across several domains, including automotive engineering, aviation, energy, chemicals, etc. Its high living standards make the country a popular destination for expats from around the globe. According to a recent estimate, more than 2,30,000 expats currently live in Germany (0.3% of the country’s overall population).
The country’s healthcare system is highly reliable and of top-notch quality, which is why medical expenses are often very costly in Germany. However, with a comprehensive international health insurance plan, you should be able to manage your medical expenses easily.
With over 2,000 hospitals across Germany having state-of-the-art facilities, rest assured that no one has to wait for long to consult specialists who are highly trained. Patients can choose their general practitioner and even get access to a specialist without going through any intermediary process. Since maintaining such standards of healthcare requires a lot of funds, everyone living in Germany has to contribute towards it. Those who earn more have to pay more for insurance. Those who earn less can opt for a lower insurance cover.
Expats in Germany can also go for private health insurance that entitles them to seek optimal medical assistance from better-equipped private hospitals. Expats can get the necessary information about healthcare in Germany by clicking here.
Overview of Healthcare in Germany
Expats working in Germany have to choose a health insurance provider and inform their employer about it. The country’s health insurance is divided into two types:
- Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (state health insurance)
- Private Krankenversicherung (private insurance)
Those who earn up to approx €60,750 per year have to register with one of the Gesetzliche Krankenkasse (public health funds). The premium they pay for Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung is deducted from their monthly salary. These plans do not cover the eye and dental care and other specialized services, which can be obtained through supplementary private health insurance. Those who earn more than €60,750 or are self-employed, public officers or students, can opt for a private health fund. Services covered under Private Krankenversicherung can vary for every insurance company. One can’t opt for both public and private insurance at the same time.
The law mandates that both employer and employee make an equal contribution to health insurance. However, an employee may pay anywhere between 0.8%-1.3% more than the employer depending upon the health insurance plan and income.
How the German Healthcare System Works for Expats
A few private health insurance companies may sell insurance to expats only if the latter has been living in Germany for at least 2 years. Beyond that period, health insurance benefits stay the same for expats who are either relocating to Germany or have a work contract of more than a year.
Under statutory insurance, expats & global nomads in Germany can choose a doctor themselves. A major benefit of statutory insurance plans is that all dependent family members are covered under this plan. Benefits under private insurance can vary based upon the plan and insurance company you choose. Expats wanting better facilities and privileges can opt for a higher premium plan.
Germany has introduced stricter health insurance regulations that need to be complied with and an international health insurance plan may not fulfil the current statutory requirements. It is advisable to seek advice regarding this as it is very much dependent on your legal and family status, age, income, job prospects and intended duration of stay in Germany as to whether a you should take out German national health insurance or German private insurance. Only if you have a special status (e.g. when seconded to Germany by a company for a limited time) is it possible to avoid signing up for a German health insurance plan. We do have some members who take out our international health insurance plan as a top-up to their German national insurance or German private insurance.
Pharmacies in Germany for Expatriates
Pharmacies (or Apotheken) in Germany can be identified by a large ‘A’ sign in red. As per law, only a qualified pharmacist can own these pharmacies, and run no more than three branches across the country. This is why there are no large drugstore chains in Germany. These pharmacists can also recommend non-prescriptive drugs when needed. Expats will have no problem accessing the medications they require in Germany.
Emergency Medical Care in Germany
Expats can seek emergency healthcare services in German by dialing 115 and is referred to as Rettungsdienst (Rescue Service). Most of the hospitals across Germany have their Accident and Emergency units open 24/7, except for a few.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Germany
Everyone must have either private or public health insurance in Germany. But these plans do not cover just about everything. If you have a serious medical condition or need some emergency assistance that’s not covered under your plan, you have to bear the additional expenses yourself.
To secure yourself from such unplanned and unforeseeable expenses, you can procure international health insurance from a leading international insurance company. As a German ex-pat or for foreigners living in Germany, you can go for Cigna Global international health plan that offers assistance even when you are traveling to some other country. Alternatively, you can contact us to discuss the other insurance plans offered by other leading companies for German expats or expatriates living in Germany.